The word itself is weighted like an anvil that falls heavily, squarely, and hammers you into the ground in a single, swift stroke. It is cavernous and dark, stretching on forever like a tunnel, except that there is no light at the end of its long length. It is deafening. It silences the rest of the sentence with a jet-engine roar. It is the moment at which hope is extinguished.
I saw his mouth forming the word cancer before I actually heard it. There is certain predictability in an oncologist’s presence. They do not bring tidings of comfort and joy.
Dad immediately said, as he always said, “Now, don’t go getting all upset.”